Help Your Sales Team: How to Set Up a Sales Channel With Distributors

One of the most effective things you can do to help your marketing is to set up or revamp a system which gets the business flowing and the dollars coming in the door. Sales is an area that needs to run smoothly in your business, and anything that can be done to help keep your salespeople out selling is better for you and the company, and best for them. Here’s an example of how we helped a company do just that.

A tech company needed a distributor qualifying process

A small technology company we worked with was ramping up to sell their product through world-wide distributors. As interest from potential distributors increased, the sales team found that they were the ones fielding calls and emails from interested parties. They found they were answering the same questions over and over to unqualified distributors, and this was frustrating and time consuming. They also knew that the faster they brought distributors onboard, the faster this issue would go away. So they felt the need to quickly answer any inquiries, but were getting frustrated by the ad hoc nature of this situation that was taking them away from selling.

Task at hand:
In talking with the sales team about their circumstances, we found that they didn’t have a clear way to consistently qualify potential distributors, and no set process to bring the ones they were interested in along to the next step for consideration.

Action taken:
The first thing we did was to decide what the general qualifying criteria was for a distributor, and put that information on the website. The second thing was to decide not to take any phone calls from potential distributors, and instead direct them to the website for pre-qualification. This way, the sales team was able to choose who and when to have a conversation with based on the information the potential distributor entered on the website. The sales team would generate a report of all the applicants,  and based on their answers, choose who to follow up with. This “pre qualifying” stage was a simple page on the website under a tab called “distributors”. Examples of some of the first-level qualifying questions were:

  1. How many years has your company been in business?
  2. Who else do you distribute products for and in which areas of the world?
  3. Which of our products and which regions of the world are you interested in?
  4. Do you have a services support team?
  5. Why is our product of interest to you?
  6. Please list your website and management team contact information.

The process eliminated the time wasters from ever reaching the sales people as their answers simply didn’t move them along to the next stage. The sales team was able to have focused opening conversations with pre-qualified distributors on their schedule, and spend the rest of their time selling.

Have you found any pre-qualifying processes have worked well for your company when searching for distributors?

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